Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Beach

Going to see Dr. Passan for the follow-up to the mammogram was difficult.  He had just been a huge part of Rick’s story and here I was plopped in his office for what could be a bad story ending.  He was handling me very gingerly.  I think if I had been another patient he might have just suggested waiting to see.  I was not in a wait and see frame of mind.  I was in a take them both off right now frame of mind.  All I could see was more cancer and my boys without either parent.  Yes, I was a little over the top but I had just been through the mill.

Dr. Passan tried to reason with me concerning the mastectomies.  He said that I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to be making that kind of decision that I was a young woman and that I could opt to have the needle-core biopsy.  It sounded simple but it made me antsy not to have this resolved.  I decided to take his advice and scheduled the procedure.

My parents came down to stay with me and my dad drove me over to the Rockville, MD center where they performed this procedure.  They took me in and had me get the gown on and then did a mammogram.  The doctor there explained that they needed to have three coordinates in order to be able to do the biopsy.  I would go into the procedure room and then get sent back for another mammogram, procedure room, mammogram.  Finally, they determined that they didn’t have three coordinates and told me that I needed to return to the surgeon. 

I was overwhelmed with the thought of my children being orphaned and this was not resolving itself very quickly.  I made an appointment for the beginning of September with Dr. Passan and headed for the beach with the Roszel’s; Suzy, Steve, and my mother in-law were going down and invited us to join them.  I just had to put it all behind me and worry about it when I returned.

I bought an Alyson Krauss and a Dixie Chicks CD and started playing them in the van, loud enough so that even I couldn’t think.  Jack and Michael were so tired of hearing them by the end of summer.  It was torture for them.  I listened to them when I walked, drove and just hung out.  I suppose it was a coping strategy.

Suzy usually rents a place at the beach every year around the middle of August and she and my mother in-celebrate their birthdays there.  It’s a tradition.  They generally get the same house every year but this year they had a different house.  It was close to the beach, just a short walk. 

This would be my first trip to the beach without Rick.  I tried to see ahead to the problems I would encounter.  Each of the boys would carry their own things.  I bought a beach chair with a strap for carrying; I brought a small cooler with drinks and snacks for the boys and a small umbrella with a strap and carrying case.  Michael and Jack brought their own towels and we brought a mesh bag for toys; it was perfect.  I didn’t think I would be able to do it but it turned out fine.  Jack complained a bit about carrying things when it was time to go home but I told him he should not bring so much the following day.

It was a pleasant week.  Steve woke the boys up one night in the wee hours to see an eclipse from the deck.  They loved it and were so impressed.  I remember seeing shooting stars and staring into the vast skies that were sprinkled with stars.

Suzy took the boys down to Jockey’s Ridge to climb the dunes; it was great fun.  I stayed back with my mother in-law.  She also took Jack up in a plane.  He was ecstatic about it.    All in all it was pretty terrific week and it helped to not have to think about Rick 24/7.  Bit by bit, I was getting there.

I went walking by myself in the morning.  Sleeping was still a challenge so as soon as the sun was up I headed down to the beach and walked along the shore to the pier and back again.  I love being out so early when there are so few people around.  I wasn’t always this way; I am a beach convert.  When I married Rick, he dragged me to the beach with his family every year.  It was a little rough to be there with all those relatives.  I hated the sun, humidity and didn’t see the attraction.  I don’t know what changed me over the years.  One thing was the invention of lighter umbrellas that could be easily toted back and forth each day.  I also would only stay down for about four hours and then go to the house for lunch.  Going back in the afternoon broke up the day and I didn’t get so burned.

The Roszel tradition was to get down to the beach at 10 in the morning, plant yourself in your chair with your cooler of beers and bake in the sun all day, occasionally taking a dip in the ocean.  Let it be known that this tradition was completed without the benefit of children and so was short-lived.  Although Rick pined for the old days, when the babies started showing up, he realized the tradition was over.

I worried about the boys in the surf, especially Jack.  I didn’t like him going out by himself very deep.  I bought a good life jacket for Michael and made him wear it whenever he went in the water which was smart.  Steve would yell at him not to go out far and then a wave would come and send him flying in the surf.  He’d pick himself up with a dazed look and his hair full of sand; he’d be ready to head right back out there.  For some reason, Steve would call him a hard head.

1 comment:

  1. I remember my first beach trip after "the divorce". It was difficult. Everywhere I looked there were memories. The beach was always a place where me and the X got along. As time moved on, I made new memories at the beach. Now I spend a lot less money on my visits to the beach and enjoy the relaxing nature and family time a lot more than before.